Tomorrow at 7pm ET, Alabama will take the field to begin the 2010 football season, and I, per usual, will be a nervous wreck. Last year was remarkable. If you had asked me this time a year ago how I thought the season would turn out, I would have said, “if we make it to the SEC championship game, we have a better shot at beating Florida than we did the year before.” Not one utterance of the words National Championship would have come out of my mouth. No mention of going undefeated would have crossed my lips. And certainly Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram wasn’t even a passing thought. But that was last year. This is this year.
I have a lot of friends who are of the die hard Alabama fan variety, and when I say that I mean those people who believe we’re going to win the national championship every year. There’s nothing wrong with that. Every team needs fans like that. I’m of the more realistic fan type. Some people think that makes me pessimistic, but I call it cautiously optimistic. Do I want to win every game we play? ABSOLUTELY. Do I believe if they do their jobs 100% on every play for 60 minutes that we can win the game? FOR SURE. Do I think that’s also true about a lot of teams in the country? YOU BET. It is incredibly hard to win a national championship, and in my opinion, it’s even harder to win one when navigating through the SEC. Last year proved that to me. I have friends who will tell you that until the last second ticked off that championship game, I still didn’t think we were going to win despite what the scoreboard said.
It bothers me probably a little more than it should when people talk about repeating or defending because that’s a lot of pressure on a bunch of kids who had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the 2009 championship. I realize we have a lot of returning players from the championship team, but again, winning it all is INCREDIBLY HARD. I think it is disrespectful and unfair to not allow the players on this year’s team to chart their own path, to set their own goals, and to find their own identity without being compared to what happened last year. Every person who has attended the University of Alabama is a member of the Family. Likewise, every person who has suited up in a crimson uniform is a part of our athletic history and have earned their place in the books. So, too, has this 2010 team.
Don’t get me wrong, I would wholeheartedly welcome a national championship for the 2010 season. In fact, I’d welcome a national championship every year just like those die hard fans, but make no mistake, if the 2010 team were to win the national championship, it will be their national championship and will have NOTHING to do with the 2009 team’s national championship.
With that said, Welcome to Alabama Football 2010. And if you’re an opponent of ours this season, may God have mercy on your soul.